December 24th by Doug Mankell
“So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph and the Child lying in the manger”
The shepherds didn’t waste any time in going to Bethlehem that night. They knew exactly where to go.
For us, of course, it is not quite that easy. No one knows the exact location in Bethlehem where Jesus was born. According to tradition, the Church of the Holy Nativity in Bethlehem was built over the specific location of Jesus’ birth. I have had the privilege of visiting this Church on three occasions and each time I have stood in line with other tourists and knelt to touch the star-shaped symbol imbedded in the floor where, according to tradition, Jesus was born. Each time, it was a holy moment for me.
One of those moments was especially moving when a group of English-speaking tourists began singing “Silent Night, Holy Night.” Almost immediately, tourists from other parts of the world began singing that familiar Carol in their native languages. The Germans sang “Stille Nacht, Heiliga Nacht” and other tourists joined in by singing in French, Italian, Spanish, and other languages. That was a sacred moment, to say the least, as we sang that Carol in different languages near the location of Jesus’ birth.
The specific location of Jesus’ birth is not the most important thing about this season. What is most important is that Jesus Christ came to this earth as our Lord and Savior.
The glorious birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ:
have inspired the writing and composition of countless books, poems, songs, hymns, and the New Testament itself.
have resulted in the creation of thousands of churches, hospitals, colleges and universities, and other caring institutions around the world.
have transformed the lives of millions of people down through the ages.
have provided us with the assurance of life beyond the grave.